Press Release, Student Life

Ohio Wesleyan Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Build New Student Homes

February 22, 2017 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

James F. Dicke II and his wife, Janet S. Dicke, are funding construction of a small living unit (SLU) student residence at Ohio Wesleyan University. The building is being named in memory of James Dicke's parents.

Contribution from James F. and Janet S. Dicke Funds Construction of Small Living Unit ‘SLUplex’

DELAWARE, Ohio – For nearly four decades, the Dicke Family of New Bremen, Ohio, has been supporting the educational experience of Ohio Wesleyan University students.

The family’s longtime support includes the Carl H. Dicke Scholarship, created nearly 40 years ago by Irene Dicke in memory of her late husband. The scholarship still is supported today by their grandson James F. Dicke II and his wife, Janet S. Dicke. James and Janet Dicke also are members of the President’s Circle of donors and currently support six OWU students who are Horatio Alger Scholars.

The couple’s Ohio Wesleyan legacy continues to grow with their latest gift: a $1.5 million contribution to fully fund construction of the Jim and Eilleen Dicke House, a small living unit (SLU) student residence named in memory of James Dicke’s parents.

When it opens in the fall, the duplex-style building, or “SLUplex,” will house 24 students (12 per side) in themed living-and-learning environments that enable students to reside with others who share similar academic and civic interests.

“Ohio Wesleyan is honored by the generosity of the Dicke family, especially Jim and Janet,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “They embody the type of active, involved citizenship that we value and nurture in our students, and that we support through our unique small living units. Jim and Janet are wonderful role models for these students and, indeed, for everyone.”

James Dicke is chairman and chief executive officer of Crown Equipment Corp., one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of forklift trucks and materials-handling equipment. With its global headquarters in New Bremen, Crown Equipment has 18 manufacturing facilities worldwide, more than 13,000 employees, and more than 500 retail locations in 84 countries. It is one of the “Forbes 400” largest private companies.

Ohio Wesleyan's new 'SLUplex' will be named in memory of Jim and Eilleen Dicke, the parents of James F. Dicke II.

Dicke also is the recipient of a national Horatio Alger Award, recognizing his “personal initiative and perseverance, leadership and commitment to excellence, belief in the free-enterprise system and the importance of higher education, community service, and the vision and determination to achieve a better future.”

In November, Ohio Wesleyan awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his exemplary leadership and contributions to the betterment of the world. An honorary degree is the highest award bestowed by the university.

Janet Dicke’s community involvement includes serving as a trustee for the couple’s alma mater, Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.

Ohio Wesleyan Life Trustee Robert Gillespie, Class of 1966, lifelong friend of the Dicke family and chairman emeritus of KeyCorp, said the couple’s latest gift to OWU is typical of their vision and generosity.

“Jim and Janet are well-known for their support of higher education, the arts, and other civic causes,” Gillespie said. “When they talked with Ohio Wesleyan students and learned how integral the small living units were to the students’ OWU experiences, Jim and Janet immediately knew they wanted to support SLU construction. Their support of Ohio Wesleyan’s capital campaign and its efforts to provide a transformational educational experience for every student is inspiring.”

The couple’s gift is considered part of Ohio Wesleyan’s $200 million Connect Today, Create Tomorrow campaign – the largest single fundraising initiative in university history. The seven-year campaign, launched in its leadership phase in July 2014, already has raised more than $126 million. Its priorities include enhancing access and affordability for students through scholarship endowment; recognizing and rewarding faculty excellence and innovation; and improving the physical campus.

Learn more about supporting Ohio Wesleyan at owu.edu/waysgive.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.